Tasmania abbreviated as Tas and well-known colloquially as “Tassie” is an island state that is part of the Commonwealth of Australia. It is situated in 240 kilometres to the south of the Australian mainland, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the main island of Tasmania, the 26th largest island in the world, and the surrounding 334 islands. The state has a population of 507,626 (as of June 2010), almost half of which lives in the Greater Hobart precinct, which forms the metropolitan area of the state capital and largest Hobart city.
The top five places to visit in Tasmania are:
Set amongst the historic Georgian sandstone buildings of Salamanca Place, this becomes the famous market attracts thousands of visitors every Saturday of the year. Salamanca Market is one of those unique places tourists actually meet the people who create, make or grow what they sell. A range of nearly 300 stallholders includes hand-made Tasmanian pieces from woodwork to jewellery, fashion to fanciful glassware and ceramics, not to mention fresh fruit and organic vegetables, all accompanied by buskers and music. From the market, it’s a short climb up historic Kelly’s Steps to the Georgian cottages and the early maritime village atmosphere of Battery Point. Also nearby is Hobart’s picturesque waterfront where the tourists will find fishing boats berthed close to cruising yachts and the occasional square-rigger or two. Salamanca Market takes place at Salamanca Place in Hobart, every Saturday between 8.30 am and 3 pm – rain, hail or shine.
The Museum of Old and New Art – MONA becomes one of the most controversial private collections of modern art and antiquities in the world – it’s certainly the largest. MONA is illustrated by its owner as a ‘subversive adult Disneyland’. In all, the collection takes up three floors within a subterranean architectural masterpiece and is guaranteed to impress. With over 400 art works, the collection includes Sidney Nolan’s Snake, Wim Delvoye’s Cloaca Professional, a machine that turns food into excrement, and Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Mary. The 3.5 ha site also includes the Ether Building Function Centre, Moorilla winery and vineyard, Cellar Door, Void Bar, Wine Bar and Barrel Room, Moo Brew microbrewery, The Source restaurant, a 63-seat cinema, the Mona Library and gallery and eight contemporary accommodation pavilions. Visitors can also catch a high speed ferry from Hobart’s waterfront for a 30-minute ride up the Derwent River right to the steps of the museum.
Kunanyi/Mount Wellington is a wilderness experience just a 20-minute drive from Hobart and is much loved by locals. The 21-kilometre drive to the summit passes through temperate rainforest to sub-alpine flora and glacial rock formations, ending in panoramic views of Hobart, Bruny Island, South Arm and the Tasman Peninsula. No other city in Australia has a vista like this one. The interpretation centre at the top protects you from the blustering winds while an open viewing platform on the western side of the car park looks out to the southern World Heritage Area beyond. There are bushwalking trails suited to all fitness levels and barbecue and picnic facilities are provided. Mountain activities also include trail biking and abseiling.
The Port Arthur Historic Site on the Tasman Peninsula is one of the Australia’s most tourism destinations. The Site has more than 30 buildings, ruins and restored period homes, dating from the prison’s establishment in year 1830 until its closure in year 1877. During this time around 12,500 convicts served sentences and for many it was a living hell. Today, the site sits in 40 hectares of landscaped grounds and the tourists will need plenty of time to fully experience all that it has to offer. Site entry is valid for two consecutive days and includes an Introductory Guided Walking Tour, access to the museum, harbour cruise, access to the Convict Study Centre and Interpretation Gallery and the site of the Dockyard. For a small additional fee you can also cruise to the Isle of the Dead and join a guided tour of Port Arthur’s island burial ground. The tour provides a view into the lives of those who were part of the penal settlement including convicts, soldiers, civilians and their families.
Cataract Gorge Reserve, is also known as the Gorge, is a unique natural formation within a two-minute drive of central Launceston – a rare natural phenomenon in any city. In an easy 15 minutes, the tourists can walk from central Launceston along the banks of the Tamar River into the Gorge and from there follow a pathway originally built in the 1890s along the cliff face looking down onto the South Esk River. The First Basin on the southern side has a cafe and a swimming pool surrounded by bushland knows to locals as Launceston’s beach. In contrast, the shady northern side, named the Cliff Grounds, is a Victorian garden made with ferns and exotic plants. The beautiful Kings Bridge over the Gorge was floated into place in year 1867.